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Kenya’s billionaires prefer investing in high return sectors like real estate. Some lost their wealth last year. [Photo/Commercialpropertykenya]

Kenya’s ultra-rich are worth at least Sh3.07 billion (US$30 million) each with the country being ranked fourth in the list of African States’ super-rich.

The Knight Frank’s Wealth Report lists 42 ultra-high net worth individuals in Kenya with South Africa leading the pack in Africa having 1,033 individuals. Nigeria has 724 high net worth individuals followed by Morocco which is ranked third with 215 ultra-rich people.

Globally, the US tops the list with the highest number of ultra-rich people at 240,575 accounting for almost half of the global total.

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China comes in second globally with 61,587 people while Germany is third with 23,078 people and France comes in at number four with 18,776 people.

The number of ultra-high net worth individuals globally is 513,244 having grown 6% in the last year. 2019 saw an additional 31,000 ultra-high net worth individuals.

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Despite 2019 being an economically tough year and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) reducing its forecast to 2.9% from 3.5% in January 2020, the rich continued getting rich.

Predictions for the next five years show that India will see some of the highest growth in the number of rich individuals. The Asian nation is projected to grow 73% followed by Egypt at 66% and Vietnam at 64%.

In Africa, Tanzania is projected to be among the top countries with a 54% growth.

In 2019, the super-rich Kenyans significantly lost their wealth as the value of their assets declined. This is the first time in five years that this is happening in Kenya according to the report. The reason for the wealth loss was attributed to the turbulent 2019 where the extremely wealthy individuals also reduced by six.

According to the wealth report, those with between Sh100 million and 900 million are 500 Kenyans.

The report tracks how the rich spend and invest their money.

There are 9,600 other Kenyans who are classified as “ultra-wealthy” by the report. These Ultra High Net Worth Individuals (UHNWI) in Kenya are not done with making more money as they are now focused on environmental, social, governance (ESG) of the companies they invest in.

Healthcare, commercial real estate and retirement property are the investment interests for these investors in 2020.

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Interestingly, most of the questionably wealthy Kenyans hide the money in offshore accounts meaning that the number of the extremely wealthy Kenyans could be grossly understated.

A report by the National Bureau of Economic Research (NBER) in 2018 revealed that Kenya’s wealthiest individuals are hiding nearly two times Kenya’s 2018-19 Sh3 trillion (USD 30 billion) budget.

And in a report released in October last year, Kenya was the only big 5 African economy without dollar billionaires.

The AfrAsia Bank Wealth Report 2019 revealed that 16 people in Kenya were worth USD100 million or more.

340 Kenyans are worth USD10 million or more while 8,600 people can stake claim to USD1 million.

This brings the country’s total wealth to USD93 billion (Ksh9.5 trillion). Total wealth refers to the private wealth held by individuals living in a country excluding government funds.

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